How NGOs Are Using Social Media For Change

According to the research published by the Tech Report in 2018, Facebook is the most popular social media platform with 92% NGOs around the world, using it to connect with their supporters. It is closely followed by Twitter and Instagram with 72% and 39% of NGOs creating profiles on these platforms.

With over 2 billion users, it’s clear why Facebook can be an effective tool to bring change in the society. Especially in this technology-driven age, where most information is just a click away, there is a need to be “out there” to connect with younger generations to garner support, raise awareness, recruit volunteers, invite donors and use social media for good causes.

Why Do NGOs Need To Shift To Social Media?

social media for change

The internet and social media in itself are very powerful tools that can be used to raise awareness about social causes, charitable events, and volunteering opportunities. According to nonprofitsource.com, over 80% of millennials and 49% of Gen Xers donate through online forums. Most millennials tend to be inspired by social media, and as the millennial generation is growing, there is a need to make it easier for them to use social media for change.

As technology is rapidly becoming accessible to the younger generation, NGOs with social media channels can easily spread their messages of goodwill and kindness.  Social media adds that personal touch which was previously difficult to deliver through letters and emails. Now, NGOs have a direct line with their donors with whom they can communicate instantly to answer their queries and keep them updated about their work.

GiveIndia and its several partner NGOs believe in the power of social media to bring change at the grassroots level. Listed below are a few GiveAssured NGOs that are using social media for change.

1. The Akanksha Foundation

Founded in 1991 by Shaheen Mistri, the Akanksha Foundation works to transform the lives of the children hailing from low-income families. Akanksha began with the simple idea of giving less privileged children an opportunity to learn and enjoy their childhood. With over 75% of their alumni pursuing higher education, the organization is not only making a difference in their students’ lives but also in the rural education sector in India.

The Foundation actively uses social media for change and provides regular updates on the lives of their students and the work the organization is committed to, right  from fun activities and guest lectures conducted at their schools, to the achievements and awards won by their students. With over 34k followers on Facebook, the organization constantly keeps its donors updated about their work. It is also using the same to build trust and credibility. Their recent #TeachersDay campaign on Facebook, featuring Boman Irani (film actor), helps them to talk about the support that they receive from celebrities like Irani.

2. The Akshaya Patra Foundation

Akshaya Patra is an organization founded in Bangalore to implement the mid-day meal scheme in government-aided schools to fight hunger and malnutrition. The non-profit organization aims to encourage more underprivileged kids to attend school by providing wholesome meals every day.  The food, cooked in centralized kitchens, feeds over 1.5 million children. They aim to feed 5 million children by 2020 and have a strong team committed to achieving this goal.

The organization has used technology to spread the word of the incredible work they’re doing. With over 2 million followers on Facebook, the organization has attracted visitors from all over the world to their kitchens. They have effectively used their social media for change and launched fundraisers and other informative posts to reach out to people and use food as a means to improve education.

Their #SocialFundraising campaign also allows donors to create their own fundraising campaigns. Through this, Akshaya Patra is not only encouraging people to donate themselves but also asking them to motivate friends and families to contribute directly to the NGO. This helps them reach the as yet untapped audience and actively involve their donors in the process. These kinds of campaigns  make organizations more accountable by making the process a lot more transparent.

3. Teach For India

Teach for India is rooted in the belief that leadership lies in the heart of the solution for illiteracy. With a strong fellowship program that produces some of India’s best and brightest teachers, they have been working to change the face of the Indian education system, one child at a time.

With almost a million followers on their Facebook page, Teach For India has been able to use their social media for change by encouraging prospective teachers to apply for their fellowship program. The 34k followers on their Instagram page get to view regular videos and facts about the education system and the organization’s contribution to society. They also share essays on what change they hope to see in the future, written by their students. The beauty of social media is that it brings people together while allowing them to be physically dispersed anywhere in the world. That’s what TFI did by opening the discussion to all through their Twitter dialogue.

According to the India philanthropy report, 2019 of Bain and company, contributions to NGOs by individual donors had increased by 21% in the last five years! The rise of technology has increased awareness which in turn has led to a rise in philanthropy among people. Technology has created a more empathetic and tolerant society. It has not only become easier but also a more rewarding experience as people can see the change they are bringing about through their donations.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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